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Penguins sign defenseman Brian Dumoulin to six year contract ($4.1 million AAV)

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The Penguins and a key defenseman avoid arbitration and come to an agreement for a new six year contract

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Well, so much for arbitration. The Penguins and Brian Dumoulin have agreed on a new six year contract. From a team email:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with defenseman Brian Dumoulin on a six-year contract, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

The deal begins with the 2017-18 season and runs through the 2022-23 season, and has an average annual value of $4.1 million.

Dumoulin, 25, has been a key component to the Penguins’ back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, as he played in all 49 playoff games in that span, and recorded 14 points (3G-11A). In the 2017 playoffs, Dumoulin had an average ice time of 21:59 minutes, the most of any Penguins skater, and his plus-9 paced all team defenders. He assisted on Carl Hagelin’s empty-net goal that sealed the 2-0 victory in the decisive Game 6 of the Cup Final against Nashville.

As a member of the Pens’ 2016 Stanley Cup winning team, Dumoulin partnered with Kris Letang for much of the playoff run on the team’s top defensive pairing. Dumoulin scored the Penguins’ first goal in the decisive Cup-winning Game 6 in San Jose. He averaged more than 21 minutes per game in the ’16 playoffs, more than 2:30 over his regular-season average.

The 6-foot-4, 207-pound defenseman scored his first career playoff goal in Game 5 of the 2016 Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the same team he scored his first career regular-season goal against on Dec. 15, 2014.

I’ve seen some fans non-plussed about the amount, but so it goes. The Penguins got a 1st pairing defenseman for his age 25-31 years (i.e. what should be his career best) for a $4.1 million rate. That’s prime earning years and a great rate for the team compared to the open market. A similar, but more injured and less accomplished player to Dumoulin in Karl Alzner just received $4.625 million (and a limited NTC) for 5 years in free agency. Capitals restricted defenseman Dmitry Orlov, a better offensive player but one less reliable defensively, signed a long-term deal for $5.1 million this summer as well.

Dumoulin doesn’t put up a ton of points, and he’s not a flashy player, but he’s a very sound one positionally and also one capable of making good transition passes to start the rush and let the forwards do their thing to get the points. Or add support for Kris Letang and allow him more freedom to create offense.

Dumoulin’s a positive possession player, and a positive team goals-for player. We saw him eat a huge amount of even strength and penalty kill minutes in the 2017 playoffs and basically was the horse the team hooked their wagon to defensively. And that was all with a 1st round hand injury that never healed up.

This seems like a very fair deal for each side, the Pens lock up a key player for the long-term and the player gets financial security in a deal as well.

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After this move, CapFriendly is showing the Pens having $6.28 million in space for 2017-18. The team still has yet to sign Conor Sheary and they also expect to add a 3rd line center, with general manager Rutherford indicating he expected to have about $2 million for that. Now that Dumoulin is taken care of, those two moves and Pittsburgh ought to be set for the start of the 2017-18 season.